Why Does ‘Centrist’ Always Mean The DC Corporate Lobbyist Position?

How come whenever I hear something described as the ‘centrist’ position on a policy, it is always, always the exact position that the big DC corporate lobbyists are pushing?
Is the definition of the word ‘centrist’ “the postion favored by DC lobbyists for big corporations”?
How come the positions favored by huge majorities of the public are “fringe” while the positions that take from the public and give to a wealthy few are always ‘centrist?”
I’m just sayin’…

58% Of Republicans Think Obama Not A Citizen Or Not Sure

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Disturbing results from a new poll: Only 42 percent of Republicans believe President Obama is a citizen. 28 percent think he’s not, and 30 percent say they’re not sure.
Overall, the poll — conducted by Daily Kos and Research 2000 — found that overwhelming majorities of Democrats and independents do believe Obama’s a citizen. 93 percent of self-identified Democrats, along with 83 percent of independents, gave that answer. Four percent of Democrats and eight percent of independents said they think the president is not a citizen.

Here’s the thing. EVEN IF HE WAS BORN IN KENYA he would still be a citizen, because his mother was American. Dumbasses.

Free-Market Conservatives Are Just Wrong

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.
There are things you can see in front of your face, and then there are things that conservative “free market” ideologues tell you.
One example is when they talk about the minimum wage. (An increase in the national minimum wage goes into effect today.) Conservative “free market” ideologues tell you that raising the minimum wage “costs jobs.” They say that if employers have to pay a few cents more per hour they won’t employ as many people.
But then there is something you can see in front of your face: whenever the minimum wage is raised, things get better. Things obviously get a little better for the people who work at the minimum wage, and for their families. As this works its way up the food chain things get a little better for the people and stores these workers rent and buy from. But also, studies looking into the effect of what actually happens after the minimum wage is raised show that the net effect is no loss of jobs.
Here is why. Employers hire the number of people they need to get done what needs to get done, according to demand. Ideally they employ the correct number of people to fill orders, run checkouts, stock shelves, etc. They don’t just have extra people sitting around for the heck of it. Of course there are some tasks where a calculation of a few cents in wages can make someone “not worth it,” but in the aggregate any jobs lost from this are offset by the new people hired to meet the increased demand created by people spending the higher wages. More people with more money to spend increases demand, which is good for business. Profits for some employers may be reduced a bit by the increase in labor cost, but these are also offset by increased profits for others due to increased demand.
Even so, conservative free-market conservative ideologues continue to make the claim that increasing the minimum wage “costs jobs” anyway. It’s what they do. They make a bad thing out of paying American workers good wages and benefits. They complain about workers getting pensions and health care. They just don’t seem to like it when regular people are better off. But here is a warning: never, ever dare suggest to a free-market conservative that a CEO or a trust fund child should pay some taxes – you’ll get an earful about how this would just ruin the economy.
The free-market conservatives are just wrong.
A second thing a free-market conservative ideologue wills tell you is that it is good for more and more of the things that used to be made here to be made in other countries instead. They say that by moving factories to other countries we all benefit because “we pay lower prices.” They say we benefit because “foreign competition encourages greater productivity” (even though we are talking about moving our factories from here to there.) They say that moving factories to other countries, “unites people in peaceful cooperation and mutual prosperity.”*
They say that moving factories to other countries, to make the same things that the factories were making here, should be called “trade.”
But we can all see right in front of our faces that none of this is so. Moving jobs out of the country to make the same things that were made here is not “trade” and it certainly hasn’t brought us prosperity. It is just moving our jobs out of the country to make the same things that were made here, so a few people can pocket what was being paid to the American workers, while they stick the taxpayers with their unemployment pay and the costs of trying to keep their devastated communities alive.
Free-market conservative ideologues seem to believe that society works better when a few people get paid a lot, while the rest of us have very little, and advocate policies that bring that about. They have been the dominant force in our country’s policymaking for many years, and we can see in front of our faces that the result is that a few people are getting paid more and more and the rest of us less and less. (Bailed-out Citigroup is paying one person a $100 million bonus, 738 others bonuses of $1 million or more, and Merril Lynch paid 696 people bonuses of $1 million or more.) They have put in place policies that stick the taxpayers with the costs and the wealthy few with the benefits.
We can all see that moving factories out of the country has destroyed lives, torn apart communities, created massive debt, created a very few massively rich people at the expense of the rest of us … oh, and ruined the economy. That, too.
It is time for us to realize that these free-market conservatives are just wrong. They get paid to say that stuff, but it is just wrong. Moving a factory out of the country to make the same things it made here is not “trade.” It does not benefit anyone except a few, and when the purchasing power inevitably dries up it doesn’t even benefit those few either. They made a short-term profit and now we all suffer a long-term loss.
it is time for us to come up with new policies, new plans, new strategies and new rules of the game.
*Actual claims at Cato Institute’s Center for Trade Policy Studies

Bipartisanship

Just got this in an email from the National Republican Congressional Committee:

Four months…that is how long it took President Obama to pick his dog. Two weeks…that is how long Democrats want to take to pick YOUR doctor.
Think about that for a moment. Nancy Pelosi and her Democrat puppets in the House are trying to rush through their trillion dollar boondoggle in two weeks – all in an attempt to avoid public scrutiny. Because the more you know about this bill, the more you will oppose government-run healthcare.
Every dollar donated will support candidates opposed to government-run healthcare. Please fill out the form below to complete your contribution. Thank you!

There’s your bipartisanship. They just lie.

Why Health Care Reform Is Stalled

If you want to know why health care reform has stalled in Congress – and may now be dead – look up the name Billy Tauzin.
Billy Tauzin was the member of Congress in charge of getting the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill into law. That was the bill that gave huge government subsidies to the impoverished pharmaceutical industry, and banned Medicare from negotiating for better prices on drugs. Yes, the one where they held the vote at 3am and kept the voting open for a record amount of time so they could find the votes.
2 months after getting this bill done Tauzin left Congress and took a “job” as a pharmaceutical lobbyist, receiving $2.5 million a year. Others received nice “jobs” as well,

Along with Tauzin, many of the other individuals who worked on the bill are now lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry.

That’s all you need to know about why health care reform has stalled in the Congress.
If you want to know why health care is stalled and may be dead look at who (read: “Blue Dogs”) in Congress is suddenly buying nice houses and cars now or in a few months.

Why No Ciminal Investigations Of Financial Institutions And Others?

Who caused the economic crisis? | Salon

So what did banks do that was criminal? Well, first they paid your government to eliminate bank restrictions, then they overleveraged, knowing they could not honor contracts with such leverage, then they lied to their shareholders about the risks and magnitudes of their positions, hid their positions illegally off balance sheet, and through the use of derivatives managed to violate minimum capital requirements on an almost daily basis. They took bank debt leverage from 8:1 to over 30:1, thus assuring that the banking system could not survive even a modest credit tightening or recession. They made crazy bets in the credit default swap market that they could never honor in a downturn. They loaned money to anyone who could fog a knife because they knew they were going to stuff it to others through securitization and CDOs. If we had a criminal investigation, we would have access to the incriminating phone calls and e-mails in which the banksters disclosed what they really thought of the assets they were pawning off on others. …
The final storyline of criminality is the biggest of all. It is bigger than the current financial crisis. It is corporate America’s complete control of our nation’s elected officials, especially our Congress, through lobbying and campaign donations. Yes, the banks played this game, but the game was much bigger than just the financial industry. Coal-fired utilities have so watered down impending legislation concerning global warming that they have now come out in favor of it in the House vote. TARP money went to banking friends of Hank Paulson, although 97 percent of congressional correspondence from the American people was against it. The credit card industry took a minor slap on the wrist, but faces no limitation on the egregious interest rates it can charge its customers. Pharmaceutical and hospital corporations are fighting hard to keep Americans from having a public alternative to their healthcare, and right now are winning that fight. The transportation industry is at the government trough trying to pass a $500 billion windfall. The AARP prevents any meaningful reform of Social Security; the teachers’ union does the same for education reform. Is it crazy to think that defense companies like Dick Cheney’s Halliburton (which saw its stock price increase 700 percent during the Iraq war, thanks to no-bid contracts) may be promoting U.S. aggression around the world?

Go read the whole thing.
Why no investigations and prosecutions? Is the Justice Department again operating under rule of law or not?

Should We Ban Manipulative Marketing?

This post originally appeared at Open Left.
You may have heard that some European countries have banned models that are underweight because seeing them has a harmful effect on teenage girls.
Should we be thinking about the negative societal effects of marketing? Should we ban marketing that is based on manipulating people by harming their self-esteem or encouraging them to do unhealthy things? Should we ban advertising that utilizes techniques that effect how our brains work? Should we demand that ads stop distracting us from our thoughts? I have been wondering about this.
Marketers today are learning how to reach down into the wiring of the brain itself, to manipulate us at a level that we do not consciously perceive and cannot control. Science has come a long way in recent decades. There is a new kind of marketing called neuromarketing that actually uses brain scans to measure how our brains react to certain stimuli. We are in danger of marketers using the information gained from these new techniques to come up with ways to sell us things and make us do things and we may in many cases be literally unable to resist.
It is not unprecedented to think about restricting marketing, even in the “free market” United States. We have confronted the problem of people being harmed by marketing in the past, with tobacco advertising and false claims of medical benefits. It used to be against regulations to make false claims in TV ads. But by and large companies have free range to manipulate people as they see fit.

Continue reading

No Reform Without Public Option!

One part of the health care reform plan is a requirement that everyone buy health insurance.
Without a “public option” — allowing people to buy into a Medicare-like government health plan — this will be one more corporate lobbyist scheme, getting the government to require us to give money to big insurance companies.
This is why the public plan is essential. it gives us an option to NOT pay the big corporations. Without this we must not let the health reform plan become law.